Starting Here, Starting Now

Lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.Starting here, starting now at no exit cafe

Music by David Shire

Directed by Fred Anzevino

Music direction by Eugene Dizon

Choreographed by Maggie Portmen

At No Exit Cafe, Chicago

Fun, light music revue entertains

It is refreshing to witness a musical revue, especially one from the 1970’s that contains 25 songs of which I only remembered one (“One Step”). So I now feel like many of the younger audience members who have been introduced to the works of Brel, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Arlen through Theo Ubique’s productions. I now realize that David Shire and Richard Matlby, Jr.  wrote some terrific tunes in a variety of styles including cute patter songs, lush ballads and topical show tunes.  Their collection of songs are nicely staged and mostly sung well in Theo Ubique’s Cabaret production of Starting Here, Starting Now now running at the intimate (and nicely spruced-up No Exit Cafe).

Starting here, starting now at theo ubique

Shire & Maltby’s revue focuses on the sensual open relationships of the 1970’s. the revue features the sexy Stephanie Herman (who sings with a lushness in a clear strong voice) and Hillary Patingre (who is a perky, cute woman whose charisma makes up for an occasional squeaky voice).  Teddy Boone is the womanizing man who has desires on these women.  Boone lacks enough machismo to be totally believable but his charm and vocals are winning.

This is a fun nostalgia trip back to the more flirtatious 1970’s with a nice assortment of tunes including comic songs like “I’m a Little Bit Off” (featuring Herman) and the haunting “I Think I may Want to Remember Today” -a duet by the women. The three-part harmony in “Beautiful” was a joy to hear.

Starting here, starting now

Teddy Boone nails the dark song “I Don’t Remember Christmas” while Hillary Patingre lands “I’m Going to Make You Beautiful.”  With nice Latin rhythms, Shire’s serviceable score is a pastiche of Broadway and Tin Pan Ally styles that playout more that a collection of trunk songs.

The moods, desires and angst of revolving relationships are nicely presented by the three cast members. Their  energy, singing skills ans their ability to “sell” their songs in character give this revue a tone of sensuality and realism. Eugen Dizon musical direction helps create a worthy accompaniment. Catch Starting Here, Starting Now to discover new show and movie songs and to have fun meeting Boone, Herman and Patingre. They’ll entertain you.

Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

For more info checkout the Starting Here, Starting Now page on www.theatreinchicago.com

At No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood, Chicago, IL, call 773-347-1109, www.theoubique.org, tickets $25 – $30, dinner package optional at $35 – $50, Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm (dinner served one hour earlier), running time is 1 hour, 50 minutes with intermission, through November 6, 2011